NRF renews call for Obama to intervene in port strike
Washington — The National Retail Federation on Monday issued the following statement from President and CEO Matthew Shay regarding the strike that has shut down most terminals at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. NRF last week sent President Obama a letter asking that he intervene in the strike.
“As we enter Day 6 of the strike, NRF is renewing its call for President Obama to intervene and end this work stoppage. The shutdown is already having a significant negative economic impact on retailers trying to bring in merchandise for their final push for holiday sales and will soon have an impact on consumers. The work stoppage not only impacts retailers, but is also affecting their product vendors – many of which are small businesses – and other industries like manufacturers and agricultural exporters that rely on the ports. As the debate in Washington continues to focus on the state of the American economy and relief for middle-class consumers, a protracted strike will ultimately result in higher prices at the very time we can least afford it. This strike is now at the national emergency stage impacting industries far and wide. ‘Urging’ both sides toward a solution is not the answer. The Obama Administration needs to show leadership and resolve to get the ports operational again and prevent any further economic damage.”
Social media and mobile takes up bigger chunk of marketing budget
Chicago — Social media is now essential to marketing in the retail industry, according to a recent BDO USA survey, which found that 86% of retail CMOs have included social media in their holiday marketing strategy. The executives said social media accounts for 10% of their holiday advertising and marketing budgets this year.
The findings are from the most recent edition of the BDO Retail Compass Survey of CMOs, which examined the opinions of 100 chief marketing officers at leading retailers located throughout the country. Half of the CMOs have included mobile in their marketing strategy, up 39% from 2011.
Additional findings include:
• Big data presents a big challenge and opportunity. Retailers were early adopters with big data, but the amount of customer data they now have access to through in-store purchases, email, social media, and e-commerce and mobile sales has skyrocketed. Nearly all (93%) of CMOs surveyed say they find it a challenge to integrate and manage the data, and 40% that it is "very challenging.” Two-thirds of retailers (66%) say they will increase their use of customer data for targeting efforts in the next year.
• Digital channels see a bigger share of marketing dollars. Print advertising is the top expenditure for 42% of CMOs, but 31% will spend the most marketing dollars online, including social media sites. This marks a 35% increase in the number of CMOs giving the most resources to online marketing and advertising over last year. Broadcast advertising remains the top expenditure for 22% of CMOs.
• Retailers focus on Facebook, many exploring Pinterest. Among the retailers who are incorporating social media into their marketing efforts, 99% say they are focusing on Facebook. Retailers are also looking to capitalize on the popularity of Pinterest, which is currently the third busiest site after Facebook and Twitter, according to comScore. One-in-five retailers say they are marketing on Pinterest this holiday season. Twitter also remains a popular site for 51% of retailers.
Consumer watchdog gets new top lawyer
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission name Stephanie Tsacoumis as its new general counsel effective December 10.
Tsacoumis joins CPSC after serving as vp and general counsel at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., from 2009 through 2012, where she was responsible for all legal affairs and compliance matters at the university, including health and safety regulations, litigation, federal contracts and grants, and intellectual property.
"Adding her impressive skill set to the fantastic team we have at CPSC will make us even more effective and help us sustain our position as the global leader in consumer product safety," said CPSC chairman Inez Tenenbaum.
Tsacoumis brings 25 years of legal experience to the government agency charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with the use of the thousands of consumer products under the agency’s jurisdiction.
Prior to Georgetown, she was a corporate partner and co-partner in charge at the international law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP. During her time at the firm, she represented government-chartered entities, nonprofit organizations, and top public and private companies in regulatory, advisory, corporate and transactional matters.
The office of the general counsel within CPSC performs several key functions, including providing advice and counsel to the chairman and commissioners, coordinating petitions and rulemaking, pursuing civil penalties and administrative lawsuits, and enforcing federal safety standards.